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Stretham
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Joined: 15 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2024 6:14 am    Post subject: Puzzle answers Reply with quote

I've copied the post below from the Art Gallery Annexe forum, as a wider discussion is required here.

3x7 wrote:
Maybe it is a good idea to specify what normalisation the answer checker applies.
This could have reduced lots of guesses in this puzzle.

My suggestion would be to eliminate everything except letters and digits and normalise to lowercase. In particular make spaces and quotes irrelevant.
3x7 brings up a good point here, but answers on Puzzletome work differently from most other similar sites. We have the ability to allow multiple different answers to any one puzzle.

For instance, if the answer is "fireplace" we can explicitly also allow "fire place" or "fire-place". While this approach would rule out someone accidentally entering "fire pl-ace", it would also let us allow "grate" and "inglenook" with no problem. We feel this is a more powerful generic approach.

The problems with the "Terribly Wrong" answer were actually down to human error rather than our answer checker, for which I apologise.  Embarassed

Stretham
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chantilly
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Joined: 16 Sep 2003
Posts: 597
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2024 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Puzzle answers Reply with quote

Stretham wrote:

We have the ability to allow multiple different answers to any one puzzle.

For instance, if the answer is "fireplace" we can explicitly also allow "fire place" or "fire-place". While this approach would rule out someone accidentally entering "fire pl-ace", it would also let us allow "grate" and "inglenook" with no problem. We feel this is a more powerful generic approach.

Whilst not quite as sophisticated, HTPO will also accept up to 4 different answers per puzzle.  I usually find this is ample to cover any possible parsing variations.  On the odd occasion where more than 4 plausible answers are likely, this can usually be fixed by having some sort of formatting instruction incorporated into the puzzle. ie. lettercount, (hyph) or (2 wds) in brackets etc.

3x7 wrote:

This could have reduced lots of guesses in this puzzle.

Thankfully, we are not penalised for having a high guess count.  When my (eventually correct) answer for this puzzle was rejected, I proceeded to treat it as a cluephrase hence my high guess count (24).  (They weren't 'guesses' as such, more attempts at answering what I thought might be a question).  

This held us up for quite a while and whilst frustrating at the time, I think we all have to accept that mistakes can and do happen and we have to learn to live with them.  You are forgiven Stretham haha Thumbs up Very Happy Very Happy

Summing up, I don't see a problem with answer formatting here at PT.  It's worked for over 20 years so why change things now!
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cae_prince
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Joined: 27 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2024 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Summing up, I don't see a problem with answer formatting here at PT.  It's worked for over 20 years so why change things now!


Just jumping on here to concur, as well.
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3x7
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2024 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Puzzle answers Reply with quote

Stretham wrote:

The problems with the "Terribly Wrong" answer were actually down to human error rather than our answer checker, for which I apologise.??Embarassed


This can happen and is not related to the suggestion I made. So no need to apologise, Stretham.

But we can have both multiple answers as well as normalising the entries of puzzlers.
This is what most competitions implement, for instance to eliminate things like double spaces and other minor variations.

I am not in charge of the site and most of the time there is not a real issue.
But it can simplify matters and prevent some common mistakes.
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